Will Robinson, WVU Hall of Famer and the school's seventh First-Team All-American, returned to Morgantown to aid Huggins and provide a dose of history and sage advice to the program's more recent grads. It wasn't as though this was his first trip to campus since tallying the highest scoring average in school history at 29.4 points per game in 1972, or even since his run as a graduate assistant. But, the Uniontown native noted, he has felt more deeply connected to his alma mater since the return of Huggins.
"It's like basketball, the game, the school and being around it all, just sort of slipped away from me for 20 years," said Robinson, who now lives outside Buffalo after a district coordinator career with Pickway Shoes. "Huggins has really changed a lot of that in the last few years, bringing guys back. Me, getting to work this camp and be a part of this…"
Robinson waves a hand, his gesture encompassing the new $25 million basketball practice facility, one quickly gaining a national reputation as the finest in the business – college or pro.
"This is amazing, all of it," Robinson said. "I've never seen anything like this anywhere. We never had anything like this when I was here. The Coliseum was new, but we didn't even get to keep shorts or a t-shirt or anything. It was nothing like it is now."
But to Robinson, that's not the biggest, most imperative of issues. The most important ideal, he thinks, is keeping former players involved, keeping the "Mountaineer family" just that, and holding events to bring former players and graduates back to campus. It both celebrates and creates new history, and deepens the ties to the program.
"It's great to see all the guys again, the former players," Robinson said. "The fantasy camp helps. The alumni weekends during football. I just kinda got disconnected there for a bit, but Huggins has brought us all back together. He got me to work this camp. He's invited everybody. It's kind of a ‘come on in' mentality. It has been great."
Robinson, a 6-1 guard, trailed only Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley in scoring at the close of his career. He finished second in WVU history in per-game scoring average, third in field goals and 25th in assists. He was a two-year team captain and was selected in the fourth round of the NBA by the Houston Rockets. After Robinson finished his Master's Degree in Safety in 1984, he began his 10-year stint with Pickway. After a one-year hiatus, Robinson moved to his current Grand Isle, N.Y. location and worked for Pickway and Toys-R-Us.
The job, distance, family obligations – wife, Pam and son, Lance – and general timing issues kept him away from Morgantown and West Virginia University for most of the duration of that time. But it's no coincidence that the return of Huggins, and all he has done to embrace former players, has endeared him to many, Robinson included.
"I probably wouldn't be here, at this camp, and coming to WVU as much if it wasn't for Huggins," Robinson said. "He has made an effort. He got this facility built. He has done a lot of good things, and I think West Virginia is in a really good position right now."